What Type of Eye Protection Should You Wear When Shooting a Firearm?

Life has a funny way of throwing us into situations where we have to make choices. Choices that protect what matters most to us. As thrilling as shooting might be, we need to talk about something extremely important - your eyes. They're your gateway to this beautiful world, and buddy, you need them to stay that way. So, here's the million-dollar question: What type of eye protection should you wear when shooting a firearm? 

Let's start unpacking the essentials of protective eyewear in the world of firearms - because trust us, when it comes to safeguarding your sight, there's more to it than meets the eye.

What type of eye protection should you wear when shooting a firearm?

What Type of Eye Protection Should You Wear When Shooting a Firearm?

There's no room for misconceptions here: eye protection isn't about enhancing your sunglass ensemble or merely upgrading your everyday eyewear. The pressing question of "What type of eye protection should you wear when shooting a firearm?" deserves a well-thought-out answer, a solution steeped in expertise and knowledge, not in half-truths and oversimplifications. This isn't the time for your regular sunglasses or a pair of entry-level safety goggles.

In the intricate world of shooting, where debris takes flight without warning, hot gases hide in plain sight, and harmful UV rays never seem to take a day off, you need a fortress for your eyes—an armor that's not a random choice but a strategic selection. This is where shooting glasses come into play, alongside trusty alternatives like goggles and face shields. Each contender makes its case with various degrees of protection, comfort, and style.

But among this assortment, shooting glasses often rise as a crowd favorite. Without tipping the scale blatantly in their favor, one cannot overlook their blend of functionality and form. They're built to shield your eyes from hazards while ensuring that comfort isn't a casualty in the process. And who says you need to sacrifice style for safety? With shooting glasses, you get the best of both worlds.

However, our aim here is not to give you a one-size-fits-all answer, but to arm you with a plethora of useful information. Because, at the end of the day, choosing the right eye protection is about understanding your needs, being aware of the risks, and making an informed decision.

eye protection glasses

Safety Glasses

Shooting glasses are the most commonly used eye protection for shooting firearms no matter if you're shooting class 3 firearms or regular ones. They're designed to protect the eyes while providing unobstructed vision for accurate shooting.

Shooting glasses are often made with comfortable materials and design features to ensure a snug, secure fit that won't distract or irritate the wearer during use. Here are some different types of safety glasses:

Clear Safety Glasses - Clear Glasses

Clear safety glasses, also referred to as clear glasses, are commonly used as eye protection during shooting and other hazardous activities. The lenses of these glasses are made of durable materials such as polycarbonate (PC) and Trivex, while the frames are commonly made of PC and Nylon.

These materials enable the glasses to withstand various hazards without compromising on protection. And with their simple, unassuming design, you'll look like a total boss while staying safe from airborne gunk and debris.

Plus, the clear lenses that the range shooting glasses feature give you the clearest view of your target, no matter how dimly lit your shooting range is.

clear glasses

Tinted Safety Glasses

Tinted safety glasses feature lenses with a colored tint or coating. They come in various tint colors, including gray, brown, and yellow. These glasses are used for multiple activities, including shooting, construction, and outdoor recreation.

Grey or brown tints are especially useful in bright sunlight or other high-glare environments. The tinted lenses help to reduce glare and improve contrast, making it easier to see clearly and aim accurately. For instance, TradeSmart’s safety glasses for shooting with L3 grey tint lenses offer high protection against sun glare (12-16% reduction in visible light) as well as 99.9% UV protection.

shooting glasses

Anti Fog Safety Glasses

Anti-fog safety glasses are actually regular safety glasses treated with an anti-fog coating to prevent fogging and keep the lenses clear during use. They feature special coatings or treatments to prevent condensation from building up on the lenses.

Anti-fog safety glasses are especially useful for shooting or other activities where the wearer may be sweating or exposed to temperature changes that can cause fogging. They come in a variety of styles and lens tints. They are often designed for comfortable, all-day wear with features like adjustable nose pads and rubber temple tips.

anti fog safety glasses

Tactical Glasses

Tactical glasses are specialized eye protection designed for use in the military, law enforcement, and other high-risk environments.

Tactical glasses refer to a type of eyewear that safeguard against small projectiles and fragments. Manufacturers provide a range of styles and colors to cater to diverse requirements and tastes. Some also boast of superior side protection, comfort, anti-fog coatings, interchangeable lenses, transition lenses, and other features.

At a minimum, the U.S. military standard mandates that ballistic eyewear must be capable of enduring a T37-shaped projectile of 0.15 caliber and 5.8 grains, moving at a speed between 640 and 660 feet per second.

Apart from ballistic capabilities, the U.S. military standard incorporates criteria for optical lucidity, shielding against UV rays, suitability, resistance to chemicals, and stability in different environmental conditions (where properties remain unchanged despite exposure to varying levels of humidity or temperature).

tactical glasses

Essential factors to consider when choosing eye protection

There are a few key factors that you should consider when selecting eye protection to ensure that you get the right fit and features for your needs. From comfort and durability to lens type and tint, each factor can make a big difference in how well your eye protection performs and how well you can perform with it.

Let's look at some of the most important factors to consider when choosing eye protection, so you can make an informed decision and stay protected while you shoot.

1. Material and Durability

You're out shooting, and suddenly, a rogue shell casing flies directly at your face. Yikes! That's where material and durability come into play when choosing eye protection. You want to ensure your glasses can handle whatever hazards come your way, whether it's impacts, scratches, or chemical splashes (weird flex, but okay).

So, what type of eye protection should you wear when shooting a firearm? Lucky for you, there are a variety of tough-as-nails materials to choose from!

Polycarbonate is the ultimate go-to for most eye protection. Safety glasses commonly feature polycarbonate as the primary material for their lenses due to its exceptional properties. Polycarbonate is renowned for being lightweight yet robust, possessing superior impact resistance compared to plastic.

Another material that’s gaining popularity as a material of choice for safety lenses is Trivex. Trivex shares a lot of similarities with polycarbonate, but also has some advantages such as superior optical clarity and photochromic capabilities. However, Trivex is significantly more expensive compared to polycarbonate, making polycarbonate a more practical option to consider.

Just don't forget to choose glasses with a sturdy frame that can handle all the abuse you'll inevitably put them through.

top gun glasses

2. Lens Tint and Clarity

Shooting is supposed to be a fun and rewarding experience, but what happens when the sun is beating down on you, and you're squinting so hard that you can barely aim your gun? Not exactly the ideal shooting experience, right?

That's why choosing the right lens tint and clarity for your eye protection is crucial. Think of it like a pair of sunglasses for your eyes, but with different tint levels to suit different lighting conditions. The right lens tint can make all the difference, whether in low-light situations or a blazing inferno of brightness.

Have you had an opportunity to take a look at TradeSmart's Professional Gun Safety Kit? Along with ear protection for shooting, the kit provides shooting glasses with clear lenses for indoor or low-light conditions. Alternatively, there is another kit available that includes both clear and tinted lenses, providing coverage for all lighting conditions! Sounds too good to be true? Wait until you find out they offer FREE SHIPPING…

indoor outdoor safety glasses

3. Fit and Comfort - What Type of Eye Protection Should You Wear When Shooting a Firearm?

No one wants to shoot with too tight or loose glasses, leaving you distracted and frustrated. Proper eye protection is vital to finding the perfect fit and comfort. You want glasses that hug your face just right, without slipping or sliding around while trying to line up the perfect shot.

We recommend TradeSmart safety glasses for gun range, as they not only offer comfort while shooting but the thin wide arms eliminate the issue of noise-seal breaking on over-ear protection as well as temple-digging. And best of all - they’re ANSI certified in the US!

shooting protective earmuffs and safety glasses
shooting protective earmuffs and safety glasses

4. Coverage and Design

Another factor to consider when choosing eye protection is coverage and design. You want to avoid ending up with glasses that only cover your eyelashes or ones that make you look like you're ready to storm Area 51.

Coverage is crucial - you need glasses that protect you from flying debris, dust, and other surprise elements that could ruin your shooting experience. And let's be honest, nobody wants to walk around looking like they just got pepper sprayed.

The design also matters! Looking good and staying protected are not mutually exclusive when it comes to shooting glasses. There are plenty of
stylish safety glasses out there that provide the necessary eye protection while also adding a bit of flair to your shooting outfit. You can express your style by wearing cool safety glasses at the gun range.

stylish safety glasses

5. Can Prescription Glasses Be Used as Safety Glasses?

No, prescription glasses should not be worn as safety glasses because they are not rated to the ANSI Z87.1 standards required for protective eyewear. Safety glasses are designed to withstand impact and are made from materials that can resist shattering or breaking.

On the other hand, prescription glasses are made for vision correction and do not have the same level of durability as safety glasses. In fact, wearing prescription glasses as safety glasses can increase the risk of injury because the glass could shatter upon impact and cause further harm to the wearer's eyes.

Therefore, it is important to use only approved safety glasses when working in hazardous environments to ensure maximum protection.

Why Eye Protection Is Crucial When Shooting Firearms

Shooting a firearm without eye protection is like driving without a seatbelt – dangerous, unnecessary, and something you should avoid at all costs. Imagine a piece of debris or an ejecting shell playing the unwelcome role of a thief in the night, threatening your sight. Hot gas can dance in the air like a lethal ballet, seeking the most inopportune landing spot - your eyes. See, protecting your vision isn't a luxury - it's a necessity. So, let's not gamble with our vision, shall we?

women's shooting glasses

How to Maintain and Care for Your Eye Protection

1. Cleaning and Storage Tips

Maintaining and caring for your eye protection is crucial to ensuring its effectiveness and longevity. To keep them in top condition, always clean your glasses with a microfiber cloth (paper towels or tissues can damage the lenses), and avoid using alcohol for cleaning as it removes the anti-fog coating.

To preserve the lifespan of your glasses, it's important to store them correctly. When not in use, avoid storing them in direct sunlight such as on your car dashboard while you're out there living your best life - the polycarbonate material can become brittle and deteriorate prematurely.

Instead, give them a cozy home in a protective case, like a little glasses condo, where they can kick back and relax in style. Plus, keeping them in a case will protect them from scratches and nicks, because let's face it, nobody likes a pair of glasses with more scratches than a DJ's turntable.

cool safety glasses

2. Replacement Guidelines

Knowing when to replace your eye protection is important. Generally, if your glasses have any damage or scratches that are starting to impact the clarity then it's time to replace them. Even minor scratches can affect the clarity of the lenses and reduce their effectiveness in protecting your eyes. If you notice any discomfort or changes in the fit, it may be time to replace them.

Also, don't let your safety glasses go all "brittle old grandma" on you from too much UV exposure! Give them a little flex test - a 10% bend should do the trick without them snapping like a brittle biscuit. If they fail the test and snap - well, it's time to say goodbye and replace them with a fresher, more pliable pair. Keeping your safety glasses in top-notch condition is key to keeping your eyes safe in hazardous situations.

If you’d like to invest in a long-lasting solution, consider TradeSmart. We offer a 10-year warranty on our safety glasses! Super cool, right?

By properly maintaining your eye protection, you can ensure that they continue to provide the necessary protection for your eyes during shooting activities.


After all is said and done, it's clear that eye protection is a no-brainer when it comes to shooting sports. So, let's recap: eyeballs are essential, and debris can hurt them, so wear eye protection - simple as that.

Now that we've solved that, let's talk about the fun stuff - choosing the proper eye protection! With the plethora of options available, ensure you consider factors like material, tint, fit, coverage, and style to find the perfect pair of eye protection.

And finally, it's not just enough to buy the right eye protection; you also need to take care of them properly. So, remember to clean and store them correctly and follow the manufacturer's guidelines for when it's time to replace them.

Want to protect your eyes and make the world a better place? Join us in supporting a good cause and proudly wear TradeSmart. With every purchase, a portion of our profits goes to helping underprivileged kids. Shop now and make a difference!

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